The Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program’s days as the most direct answer to Sony’s PlayStation Now subscription service are numbered. Xbox Game Pass is coming to provide backup, and the new service unapologetically goes after folks that are fans of subscription services like Netflix. There’s even of dash of worry for video game seller GameStop.
In a rare Tuesday morning reveal timed to Eastern Standard Time, Microsoft announced on its Xbox Wire news blog that it’d be getting into the video game subscription service in a big way. Called Xbox Game Pass, the new service will let Xbox One owners rent a library of more than 100 games for $9.99 a month. The titles can be played offline for 30 days and shared with everyone on your console, just like Xbox Live Gold and your digital purchases.
Like Netflix before it, new games will get added to the service regularly, while others will leave. Besides the video game rentals themselves, subscribers get 20% off purchasing the game outright and 10% off downloadable content. The game downloads themselves don’t unlock downloadable content — you’ll still need to pay for that. Also, Microsoft is keeping this subscription separate from Xbox Live Gold, which costs multiplayer lovers $9.99 a month or $60 a year already in the United States.
When Xbox Game Pass arrives on the Xbox One this spring, it’ll have 100 games from the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Halo 5, Payday 2, NBA 2K17 and Lego Batman are some of the titles the company is revealing today for the test that’s going out to a very, very select group of Xbox Insider Program members. Microsoft notes on the Xbox Wire blog that Windows 10 will get support for Xbox Game Pass too.
I’ve seen a lot of talk about Xbox Game Pass today, but a lot of it doesn’t attack the core issue facing gamers today. Subscription models work because people perceive value in quantity. It’s for that reason that GameStop should absolutely be worried about Xbox Game Pass. Now both Microsoft and Sony have options for getting eeking out a great gaming experience for a fixed monthly price. The PC industry long cut GameStop out of the equation with Valve’s Steam service. Meanwhile, 47% of GameStop’s gross profit in 2015 came from reselling titles that they brought from users for half of what they we worth. That figure comes from Business Insider. $120 a year for hundreds of games and their Achievements is a deal not even GameStop can compete with.
It’s tech that makes this service better than what Sony is offering with PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now requires players to have a decent connection so that they can reliably stream footage from the game to their console. That’s bad news for Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner customers, some of which already have data caps.
I say they both deserve it. PlayStation Now always seemed like an excuse to resell PS3 games back to people who upgraded to a PlayStation 4. As for GameStop, there’s a large portion of people who love used games. The retailer should probably look into diversifying their offering. It’d have been smart for the company to create a subscription service of its own years ago.